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Black screen on startup after disconnecting external monitor

By macx ยท 8 replies
Jan 19, 2011
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  1. HP Compaq nc 8230, XP Pro SP3

    Hadn't used the laptop for awhile, had black screen after I charged it then tried to start it.

    Disconnected the battery & held start switch for about a minute, reinstalled the battery, then the hp logo showed on startup and after a couple tries Windows booted.

    Was trying to find out how to run an external monitor. Went into the control panel / display / settings, found that I had 2 options under DISPLAY, but both were identically worded - basically for multiple monitors. One was #1, the other was #2. I hooked up the external monitor and it worked fine. I tried toggling between #1 to #2 with no problem or change in what was displayed.

    I shut down the laptop, then unplugged the external monitor.

    When I try to restart, I have a black screen, nothing at all shows incl the hp logo that usually shows right at the start. The HDD, etc, indicator lights still show that things are running normally.

    The only thing I did was leave it on the #2 display setting, altho it read identical to #1, essentially "multiple monitors"

    When I got the black screen on startup after disconnecting the external monitor, I also tried the fn+f4 button which is supposed to be the multiple monitor function, without any result or change in the black screen. When I had the external monitor hooked up and working I tried that to see if it had any effect but it did not.

    Appreciate any help to get the display back to functioning.
  2. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,007   +18

    So even now if you hook up the second monitor you still don't get any video on either display?
  3. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 720

    I apologize - yes that's correct. I should have included that in the first post.
  4. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,007   +18

    The problem could be indicative of the issue you had in the first place, before you hooked up the second monitor.

    Did you try the same process as in the first place, disconnect the battery, hold down start button, etc?
  5. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 720


    I have the feeling it's something to do with the Control Panel / Display / Settings things I tried.
    Of course until I find out for sure, I don't know for sure. Just hope it's not a hardware problem.
    It seemed to work fine once I got it going, both with just the laptop monitor and then with both
    monitors, until I shut it off and unplugged the external monitor and tried to restart.

    I have the user's manual for the computer someplace but can't find it right now, as I don't know
    if any of the fn buttons would have anything to do with that particular problem or not. Some
    results I got from searching indicated that might be a possibility.
  6. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,007   +18

    It could be the settings, I'm just thinking that whatever might have caused your laptop not to display anything in the first place is manifesting itself again. The multi monitor settings in Windows should not affect (AFAIK) the ability of the BIOS to display.

    I've had issues where I updated my motherboard chipset, which caused the onboard video to become the primary display, and so my monitor was black, but that's after it ran through the BIOS. That's why I'm thinking that the BIOS should appear, even if your Windows is set for multiple monitors.

    Have you tried holding down DEL or F8 to either try to get into BIOS or the Windows Boot menu?
  7. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 720

    After I disconnected the external monitor and tried restarting several times, one time I did do the F8 tapping and I got it going again, all the way into Windows. If I remember correctly, it started OK on a couple trials after that, and I used the Shutdown command to turn it off.
    Then it went wouldn't start again and I just get the black screen.

    I just now tried both holding and tapping both F8 & Del during startup with no results at all.

    Did the batteryout and holding the start key again, too, no help.

    The machine hasn't been used for a couple months, when it was used just a few times in a
    couple days - then it worked fine, and before that it had sat for a couple months, too.

    The battery is fairly recent, and some of the successful starts were on battery.

    The HD activity LED shows, the fan runs, but nothing on the screen.

    Seems to work on occasion, but most of the time not.
  8. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,007   +18

    I think that if you can't even get into BIOS its not a software problem. But it would be good to know if the problem was that you can't see the BIOS, or if the BIOS is not loading.

    Any chance that some kind of physical mishap befell it during that period (or ever for that matter)?

    If I was to hazard a non-professional guess, maybe the connector to the display got loose, and it could be reattached?
  9. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 720

    Yes, it could very well be the display connector. Guess I'll have to dig into it and try to see.

    I did try to position the display in different spots just in case. Maybe I just didn't hit the right spot.
    But, come to think of it, when it did work and then the next time not, I hadn't changed the display
    position. Oh, well. I'll keep trying.

    AFAIK the machine sat on a shelf the whole time and nothing happened, like it getting
    dropped or knocked off or anything.

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